Three Washington College women's soccer student-athletes returned to campus early this semester to take part in a Leadership Seminar. Freshman Taylor Stofko shares her experience below.
During winter break, I attended a leadership seminar here at Washington College. The main goal of the seminar was to learn how to be a leader in every situation, whether it be on campus, in the community, or in the workforce. Throughout the days that the seminar took place, we heard from speakers on leadership, learning, and finding one's path. We also were challenged in interactive activities that pushed us out of our comfort zone for the better.
After experiencing all that the seminar had to offer, I definitely would recommend this seminar to any incoming students or Presidential Fellows that Washington College offers it to next year. I came in feeling nervous and on edge, but at the end of it, I was able to look back and see all that I learned. I learned how to lead in a group, take charge while encouraging others around me, and think outside the box to find easy solutions to hard problems. I learned how to network and ease into small talk with business professionals. I was educated on internships, externships, and fellowships. More importantly, I was able to hear people speak and meet people who were willing to give these opportunities to students like me in the future.
One thing that the seminar challenged us to do was to get out of our comfort zone. The leaders of the seminar challenged each and every one of us to make a "Pecha Kucha," which is a slideshow in which there are 20 slides that are shown for 20 seconds each and words on the slides are not allowed. This is a public speaking exercise that challenges a speaker's timing, and ability to get information across in a concise way. My soccer teammate Lexi and I made a Pecha Kucha on something we are passionate about, Animal Impact. Animal Impact is a club on campus that visits local animal shelters weekly and raises awareness about adoption and the importance of animal care. Our other teammate, Maribeth, made a Pecha Kucha about how community service has impacted her life and has shaped her identity today. At the end of the convention, the Pecha Kuchas were presented and it was amazing to see how much we had grown in such a short amount of time.
I would describe this experience as nothing short of rewarding. I really was pushed to be more extroverted and take charge in certain situations. No matter what you do in life, there will always be a time where you are going to have to step up and take charge and this seminar helped me know how to do that. I plan to apply this seminar in the future by being more willing to step up to leadership roles on the soccer field as well as in my career path. Now I know how to get into the business world and get important internships and externships to build my resume and stand out. I also have improved my ability to speak publicly and my etiquette in professional situations. I would definitely recommend this experience and would do it all over again.
Taylor Stofko '18